Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day Greetings!

We celebrated Independence Day with an old fashioned porch picnic...with my second cousin, Charles, who also happens to be the Afton Town Historian. I spent some morning time in the kitchen, making deviled eggs, cutting up watermelon, augmenting yesterday's spinach and pasta salad with olives and tomatoes, finding the fancy 3-way pickle dish, opening cans of baked beans, and trying my hand at making ambrosia salad with sour cream, mini marshmallows, mandarin oranges, pineapple and maraschino cherries (courtesy of Rachel). Charlie arrived with bottle of Merlot in hand and we sat beneath the living room fan, toasting summer days to come and catching up, both on present news , future events and appointments, and past historical tidbits of interest.


We had copies of old , old New York State Regents tests that my grandmother's brother, Frank, (who was also Charlie's grandfather as well as a schoolmaster) had pasted into an 1860 census book. We were amazed by the scope and difficulty of the questions and I photocopied some of the pages for Charlie's use (he writes a historical column for the regional TriTown news). We also shared some of the 1940 census data that's been recently made available for the public via Internet, and Charlie took some notes from local information showing former neighbor's names, occupation, number in household, etc.


Dan fired up the barbecue and grilled some tenderloin and spare ribs, and we sat at the picnic table and had a leisurely picnic. Mom and Dad were with us in spirit- we celebrated so many holidays over the years on the porch, that even though they have passed on, they still feel present...although we missed Dad's homemade rolls, and his little pigs-in-blankets he made and shared with us at every special event. Mom used to make such colorful fruit salads! However, we used their patriotic red and blue bandanna tablecloth and a couple of Mom's fancy dishes, so we honored their memory...After lunch Joe made Charlie a graham cracker s'more- Charlie's first in 88 years!


Our oldest kids are of on their own independent adventures. Rachel sent us some gorgeous photos from their western road trip; in less than a week, she and Shaun have already seen some amazing places, including the Badlands, Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, Wall's Drugs, Little House sites, and wide open spaces. They've also dealt with car trouble, but seem resilient and ready to see more. Tonight, they may be seeing a rodeo in Jackson, WY. Jim left home after breakfast this morning and reported he had arrived in Oneonta safely. He is touring New York by bicycle. I'm learning to wish my traveling kids well and to trust in their abilities to weather whatever they encounter. I guess I'm growing up as a parent although I must admit I wish I could tag along on their tailwinds and experience anew the excitement traveling to new places brings.


Our youngest son is busy with a summer baseball league and participating in a Gus Macker basketball tournament this coming weekend. Dan and I have attended all his games (and I'm stockpiling baskets of fabric yo-yos that I make while watching the games. I may end up with enough yo-yos to stitch together and cover a good deal of Afton, or hopefully, at least enough for a good-sized quilt).


Oh, yes, and yesterday, my boys played a rousing, round of Fizzball (Hitting shaken soda cans) Orange pop everywhere!


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